Microsoft has announced a $300M dollar ad campaign, featuring 90s TV star Jerry Seinfeld, which according to multiple reports has been designed to save Vista and salvage Microsoft's battered reputation. There is so much wrong with this strategy, it's really hard to know where to start.
First of all, the problem is not just one of perception. A PR blitz suggests that Microsoft has produced a dazzling product in Vista, but the foolish masses have failed to grasp how good it is. All it will take is a funny ad and we all be lining up to get Vista. It's simply not going to work because the problem is that Vista is a flawed product and everyone realizes that.
That they chose a 90s TV star (one who Slashdot points out always had a Mac in his TV show apartment) only proves how myopic this company truly is. If they want to update the company's image, especially with young people, they might not want to choose a spokesperson whose TV show went off the air 10 years ago. Like Microsoft, Seinfeld's popularity peaked some time during the Clinton administration.
Not only that, the ad campaign is in reaction to Apple's highly successful "Get a Mac" campaign, which apparently really pissed off Bill Gates, who thought it was misleading. A commercial that's a defensive reaction to a successful campaign is behind the eight ball from the get-go and is doomed to be compared to its predecessor. Microsoft has rarely been known for its originality, and this is the perfect opportunity to produce something new and exciting, but once again they are chasing Apple. It's a bit pathetic.
Finally, the ad agency that Microsoft chose Crispin Porter + Bosky, is famous for those Burger King commercials with the cardboard looking king, which to me, weren't such dazzling ads, I would give them $300M to save my company.
If Microsoft really wanted to improve its reputation, they might try throwing that $300M at improving Vista and letting the market decides what it likes and doesn't like. Instead, it makes a lame attempt to save its reputation through PR and ad campaigns and paper over a weak product.